It is time to finish my review of Within the Frame by David duChemin. Here is the first post. I’ve been done with the book for a few weeks now, but I wanted to give all the thoughts time to stew and blend in my brain a bit before I wrote this post.
Before I go into the quick chapter overview I want to revisit what the book has done for me. While this book is not a technical how-to book on photography it is a spiritual how-to. It doesn’t help you make a picture per se, but helps with the why to make a picture. For a photograph to be great, at least in my book, there needs to be something there other than the picture itself, an emotional reason to be there. Within the Frame helps you find the reason.
Chapter 4 is all about storytelling with a picture. My big takeaway was the photo essay concept. There are a number of part to a photo essay and he breaks it down into each type of shot and what it adds. “Used well, a photo essay is a powerful means of expressing your vision.”
Chapter 5 talks about photographing people. He talks about the good and the bad, the joy and fear of taking portraits of people he meets in his travels. Personally I am torn between liking doing portraits and not liking it. When I get it right I love seeing the expression as they look at the picture. When I get it wrong I get it wrong and want to stick with shooting anything else. “Photographing people is one of the joys and terrors of what I do.”
Chapter 6 takes you new places as the author explains photographing places. Capturing the spirit of the place, how you interpret that location is the key to the chapter. It isn’t just what you saw, but what did it mean to you? “Scouting is the act of going to a location and discovering it’s nothing like you thought it was…”
Chapter 7 explores photographing culture. It is the every day life we see around us as we travel or are in our hometowns. What makes up the culture we see through our viewfinder, how we can freeze that moment so that others looking at the picture months or even years later understand it? “Culture is the outward expression of the inner life of a particular demographic.”
Chapter 8 ties the whole book together with Mr. duChemin’s final thoughts. He talks about how all the chapters earlier are truly tied together just as we are all tied into the places we are, the people we are with and the cultures we live in. “What is important is that we engage our vision and our craft with intention.”
I can honestly say that out of all of the photography books that I have read this one has made me think the most about photography in general, and what I am trying to do in particular.
Find this book, read it, digest it, read it again. It is worth the time.